“Some say it’s the most open Grand Slam draw in years. Is this your opinion?
It’s hard to answer that. It is certain that if we look back five years, when I was not even on the circuit, when there was the “Big Four” with Andy (Murray), Novak (Djokovic), Roger (Federer) and Rafa (Nadal) and that they were the first four seeds, it didn’t seem very open. I don’t know how the guys took it, but it’s tough. You knew you had to play them from the quarters, even from the first rounds sometimes. There have been Grand Slams where all four were in the semi-finals. It must not have been easy to live with.
So if we take this point of view, yes it is probably open. At the same time, if you look at the last two or three years, it was often me who was there, especially on hard courts. Stefanos (Tsitsipas) also made finals. In Australia, Alexander (Zverev) was there. Dominic (Thiem) won here. I didn’t feel like there was a big surprise in the last Majors. Casper (Ruud) in the Roland-Garros final, it’s not a surprise for me as he is so good on clay. And not just on land, by the way.
Last year, you won against Novak Djokovic. This year he is not here. What inspires you?
I will not speak for him. But I wish he was there. We saw at Wimbledon that he didn’t need to play a lot of tournaments to be successful. He came and he won. He is such a champion. And his rivalry with Rafa, I have the impression that it is mounting in pressure. 22 Grand Slams to 21, these numbers are a joke… It’s a shame he wasn’t there, it would have been good for tennis. But it goes beyond tennis and it’s a decision of the American government, so it’s not to be discussed. From my side, a lot has happened during the year, but I feel like I won here yesterday. I really want to relive such an emotion as it is so special. I’m really excited to do it again. I wasn’t very far in Australia… But not being far is ultimately being far from winning anyway, I lost. So I really want to do something big here.
“I feel like I won here yesterday. I really want to relive such an emotion, it’s so special.”
We remember that in 2019, you heated up with the public and you drew energy from it. Last year, the fans were pretty much behind you. What are you expecting this year?
I always tell myself that I have to be myself on the court and let people think what they want. Sometimes it’s not right, sometimes I don’t like it, but I’ll never pretend to be someone I’m not. In every city in the world, we can take the microphone and say, “Oh my God, how I love this city”. People are happy, but what’s the point? I just wanna tell the truth. And when I think back to 2019, every time the public whistled at me, there was a good reason for it. Despite everything, I think there is really something between the New York public and me. I’m not sure where it comes from, because my technique is a bit weird and my game isn’t the most flamboyant. But I think they see that I really want to win. I think my personality has something to do with it. »
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